Capitol Hill

Agronomy

Nutrition

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Canola Quick Bytes

A supplement to U.S. Canola Digest


Capitol Hill

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced $12 billion in programs to offer a helping hand to farmers hurting from the recent tariffs imposed from China. The programs will help farmers navigate an uncertain market, expand domestic markets and procure surplus commodities that will be distributed in places like food banks. “This is a short-term solution to allow President Trump time to work on long-term trade deals to benefit agriculture and the entire U.S. economy,” Perdue said. It’s estimated that China’s tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports are worth $11 billion.

Work on the 2018 Farm Bill continues to progress. The House voted to go to conference and appointed conferees on July 18 and the Senate by a voice vote agreed on July 31 to proceed to conference as well and will name conferees today.  Because the House has already left for the August recess, no formal meeting of the conference committee will take place until Congress returns after Labor Day. However, House and Senate Agriculture Committee staff will begin working on the differences during the recess.

In the June 29 Federal Register, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service called for public comments due August 28 regarding grading standards for canola. The purpose is to determine whether current standards and grading practices need to be changed to remain relevant.

Agronomy

While it hasn’t been fully funded yet, a new research project that’ll target a little-known canola disease is likely starting in Western Canada soon. Verticillium stripe is a disease that causes canola stems to appear shredded and includes other symptoms like leaf chlorosis, early ripening and stunting, according to the Western Producer. It hasn’t been a huge issue in Canada since the disease seems to target winter canola varieties which aren’t as common, but it has caused yield losses in Europe. “Maybe our crop matures more quickly so the pathogen doesn’t actually have time to cause significant yield loss, but we will still need to do that basic research work to find that out,” said Clint Jurke, agronomy director at the Canola Council of Canada.

As canola harvest season gets underway soon, the Canola Council of Canada introduced a web-based application that’ll help producers with combine adjustments and maximum yields. “In combine adjustments for all crops, we are trying to balance productivity with harvest losses and grain quality but most producers know first-hand the particular challenge this can pose for canola harvest,” said Angela Brackenreed, CCC agronomy specialist. The application will allow producers to troubleshoot harvesting issues and will offer adjustment options, and is available on mobile as well.

Nutrition

The Nordic diet is again touted as an healthy, new alternative to the Mediterranean diet in NowThis News. As the name suggests, the Nordic diet is based on foods eaten in Scandinavia. The article emphasizes that while both diets promote eating fresh fish and whole grains, the Nordic diet focuses more heavily on canola oil instead of olive oil. “Canola oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which can be healthy for the heart,” the story notes.

Other Country News

The European Court of Justice ruled on July 26 that crops obtained by gene editing should be regulated according to laws restricting the use of genetically modified organisms. While gene editing is little different to genetic changes that occur naturally or via a standard plant breeding method, the court ruled it should be regulated more strictly. Gene editing has the potential to make more productive and nutritious crops.

Not everyone is suffering from China’s tariffs on American crops. Canadian canola is experiencing a nice boost in canola exports now that China has to replace its soybean imports with other oilseed products. The Chinese government has even waived inspection and quarantine requirements for imported canola meal, reported the Western Producer. However, it’s not just American tariffs that’s helping Canadian canola. China has decreased its own rapeseed production, so there is more demand for Canadian canola imports. 

Winter canola planting in Australia has been put on hold in several areas because of extreme drought, according to World Grain. East Central Australia, which ranges from New South Wales into Queensland, has seen very little rainfall since February, which has thrown winter wheat, barley and canola planting into question. However, rainfall in southern Australia is predicted to mitigate the losses in canola from the drought in other areas. 

Latest Industry News

Biotech crops are more popular than ever. According to the Crops by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a record number of biotech crops were adopted in 2017 up to 189.8 million hectares. Better yet, the number is expected to grow, particularly in developing countries. The key to this will be science-based regulations, noted ISAAA President Paul Teng.

Michigan isn’t known for canola production, but one family may change that. Successful Farming profiled a family that decided to plant canola instead of typical corn and soybean and produce canola oil. “We need a reliable source of canola oil in Michigan,” says Dan Blackledge, a third-generation farmer. 

About the USCA

The 5th National Canola Research Conference (NCRC), sponsored by the USCA and industry, will be Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 5-6, 2018 in Baltimore, Md. It will be held in conjunction with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and Crop Science Society of America annual meetings. The NCRC will begin with two symposia, oral and poster presentations. "The NCRC elevates the status of canola as a prominent cash crop and promotes its agronomic benefits to crop rotation,” said Mike Stamm, NCRC organizer and ASA member. More info is in his post in the USCA blog.

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